What's the meaning of this phrase "Speak truth to power"?


"I wish we had more people who spoke truth to power and made statements like this - "The Unbelievable Story Of Why Marlon Brando Rejected His 1973 Oscar For 'The Godfather.'" The video in the article is short and powerful to watch."

Thanks in advance :)



The expression refers to speaking what one believes to be true, especially something that might offend or criticize those in authority with the power to retaliate, in spite of the negative consequences that might result. An alternative to speaking truth to power would be to keep quiet or to say only nice things in order to avoid (unjust) punishment by the people in power.



Many Thanks :)

Nate Hill Nate Hill (2) on 02/03/14

Great answer, Richard!

RosettaZero1 . RosettaZero1 . (0) on 19/04/14

I would like a link to this article/video for clarification.

Speak truth to power is not a phrase we use in English, rather it is the title of a Quaker pamphlet and an initiative at the Kennedy Center. We would not use this in speech. From what I can see, it means pacifism to overcome facism. The Quakers are a group in America famous for their pacifism.

Pacifism in Arabic:السلامية



Richard Detwiler Richard Detwiler (0) on 19/04/14

The phase "speak truth to power" may have been popularized (even invented) by the 1955 Society of Friends paper on responses to international conflict (, but it certainly has been used since, and continues to be used, in speech by many English speakers, especially when discussing responses to social, economic, and political injustice.

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